Solar News Update: US middleclass discovers solar rooftop, and more!

SOLAR KEEPS SURFING

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Credit Pete Cabrinha, http://www.cabrinha.com

Despite fossil fuel interests’state-level efforts to block the spread of clean energy throughout the US, solar rooftop installations showed a meteoric rise in the first quarter of 2014, with 6000+ jobs created in 2013.

Financing continues to fuel the spread of solar power, especially solar residential setups, from New York to Florida.

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AP photo/Jerry McBride via Climate Progress

Residential Solar Beats Out Commercial Installations – A First reports Kiley Kroh at Climate Progress. Utilities often claim that solar customers don’t pay their fair share of costs. But an increase in residential solar reduces air pollution, and provides an energy source at peak hours when energy costs are highest.

Solar panels also feed excess energy back to the grid, alleviating peak demand pressure, and reducing transmission of energy to customers – THAT saves utilities’ costs by increasing the lifetime of transmission lines.

“Solar energy is now generating enough clean, reliable and affordable electricity to effectively power 3 million American homes, while creating thousands of new jobs nationwide and pumping nearly $15 billion a year into the U.S. economy,”

— SEIA President and CEO Rhone Resch.

US residential solar beat out commercial solar installations for the first time ever recently, as the US middle class discovers the benefits and affordability of rooftop solar. SolarCity has even started offering coupons at groupon, and new California policies continue to streamline the solar permitting process there.

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Check it out here, right now!

New EPA policies restricting carbon pollution should help boost solar and other clean energy sources even further. Solar cell costs can decrease still further by using cheaper source materials and automating production further, notes one solar market analyst at GreenTechMedia.

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How Solar Panels Keep Getting Cheaper. Source: GTM PV Pulse, June 2014

Meanwhile, Abengoa, a large solar developer, predicts that solar plants with storage will be cheaper than natural gas by 2020, and be able to perform similar functions – without the emissions!

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In China, the cost of solar power from solar panel installations is rapidly catching upto the cost of coal-fired generation and should match it by 2016, says Suntech CEO Eric Luo. Get ready to cast off coal, China!

Finally, UK’s solar capacity just shot past 3 Gigawatts. Make the most of that sun!

Join the swelling numbers of voters TELLING Congress they’ll vote for Clean Energy candidates here. This is an ongoing campaign (the next Congressional election is this year!) so please, spread the word. It’s our way of telling Congress that a strong clean energy voting bloc is out there. This is how YOU can make a difference.

For more on Climate Change, check out my weekly column at the HuffingtonPost, Climate Change This Week

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About melharte

Mel (Mary Ellen) Harte is a biologist (PhD) and climate change educator. She co-authored the free online book, COOL THE EARTH, SAVE THE ECONOMY, available at www.CoolTheEarth.US, and writes the CLIMATE CHANGE THIS WEEK column at the HuffingtonPost. Living summers in the alpine Rockies, she is on the frontlines of watching what climate change can do. Her diagnostic digital photographs of wildflowers have appeared in numerous publications.
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